OrderPaperToday – The Senate on Thursday had a heated session when the issue of a controversial oil well was brought up by Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu).
Utazi complained about the true owner of OPL 915, 916 and 917 which are situated between Enugu, Kogi and Anambra States.
Recall that a similar controversy arose on the 2nd of July 2014 between Anambra and Kogi members of the House of Representatives.
Speaking in a point of order, Senator Utazi drew the attention of the red chamber to a report published in Vanguard newspaper on the 9th of April, 2018, which stated that the Federal Government confirmed Anambra’s status as oil producing state.
He took the Senate on a history lane, recalling 30th of August 2012 during the government of President Goodluck Jonathan which “erroneously” recognised Anambra as an oil producing state.
He noted that, this “sparked a lot of violent protests in Kogi and Enugu states who were part owners of this oil, OPL 915, 916 and 917.
“As a result of the valium projects of these states, the government of Jonathan, as it then was called for a meeting on the 31st of October 2012 to resolve this issue and invited into the villa, the governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi, Idris Wada of Kogi and the Deputy of Governor of Enugu state then for a meeting.
“After looking at the issue that concerns the ownership of this oil fields, they decided to withdraw the declaration already made and ordered the National Boundary Commission to wade into this issue and find out actually who owns what and since then the NBC has been handling this matter.”
The Enugu Senator recalled that he had brought the motion earlier but “Mr. President decided to stand down that motion I brought and said we should allow the National Boundary Commission to look into that issue and come up with a final resolution that the matter would be settled amicably.”
However, he informed that one Prince Emu “who is the chairman of host states of oil producing went visiting Anambra and went to the traditional ruler’s house in Awka and assumed the powers he never had to come and say that the Federal Government has approved Anambra as oil producing.”
He stated that the result of this declaration by Prince Emu caused a lot of trouble and “the people of Kogi and Enugu states are bearing up in arms to fight this matter.
“We are already handling this matter amicably. Sen. Stella Oduah, Atai Aidoko and I were already working on this matter to find a way to resolve it and then someone went and then stoked the fire. It has caused confusion in our place. We don’t want to join issues because we know what we went through before that area was calmed.”
He warned the said Prince Emu to steer clear from causing confusing “because he is not Minister of Petroleum. He is not in any way in anywhere to give such information in Anambra that is causing confusion in Enugu and Kogi states.”
He questioned further, “Who owns OPL 915, 916 and 917? It is contentious.”
Sen. Andy Uba came in another point of order to refute what his colleague had said and gave his version of the incident.
He said: “If you recall in 2013, those that were here in the 7th Senate. I moved the motion for Anambra to be included in the oil producing states and then the issue was that every state that wants to be included must produce 120,000 barrels of oil before they would be included and Anambra has attained to that.
“So what my colleague is saying is not true. He is lying. He is just saying his own view.”
Immediately, Senators cautioned him on his utterances.
Uba then continued, “I might take away the lying part but what I am saying Mr. President is that what he presented is not the correct thing and I would like the committee to go into it and let’s call the S.A to the president on that. Because another time, Stella Oduah raised the same motion including Anambra state as oil producing company.
Lending his contribution to the issue, Senator Dino Melaye also claimed that Kogi state is the owner of the oil well.
Melaye said: “So that we don’t live with an impression that is wrong. You had earlier ruled that the chairman upstream look into the issue of the conflict as regards the oil discovery but I want to say that as a senator representing Kogi, that our electric brother and friend, senator Utazi is totally wrong and my soft-spoken senator from Anambra state is totally wrong.
“The oil is from Ibaji local government in Kogi state. It is only owned by Kogi state and I want the chairman upstream to investigate it.”
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki then asked the Chairman Petroleum Upstream to look the issue and submit a report.